Air Conditioning: Cooler on the Inside, Hotter on the Outside!
We all love to be comfortable in our homes and businesses. We use air-conditioning to provide comfortable temperatures indoors. Air conditioners work basically by moving hotter air from inside to outside. Does this have an impact on climate? Global warming?
A team of researchers from Arizona State University has found that releasing excess heat from air conditioners running during the night resulted in higher outside temperatures, worsening the urban heat island effect and increasing cooling demands.
"We found that waste heat from air conditioning systems was maximum during the day but the mean effect was negligible near the surface. However, during the night, heat emitted from air conditioning systems increased the mean air temperature by more than 1 degree Celsius (almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for some urban locations," said Francisco Salamanca, a post-doctoral research scientist at Arizona State University's School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.
The research is presented in the paper, "Anthropogenic Heating of the Urban Environment due to Air Conditioning," published in the March 6 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres.
Salamanca, the lead author of the paper, is joined by Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; Alex Mahalov, The Wilhoit Foundation Dean's Distinguished Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at ASU; Mohamed Moustaoui, an associate professor in ASU's School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences; and Meng Wang, a graduate student also in ASU's School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. All five authors are affiliated with ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.
The paper focuses on the anthropogenic contribution of air conditioning systems on air temperature, and examines the electricity consumption for the rapidly expanding Phoenix metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolitan area in the US. Phoenix is located within the semiarid Sonoran desert and because of its harsh summertime conditions makes considerable use of air conditioning systems.
Air conditioner condenser photo via Shutterstock.
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